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Webinar Follow-up

by on June 15, 2012

On Monday, I told you about yesterday’s webinar to discuss the latest in ovarian cancer research.  It was free so I signed up.  I even got lucky and the baby slept through the whole thing!

Unfortunately, I could have slept through it as well.  The subject matter was very medical and dry.  Don’t get me wrong, it was extremely informative but I just really think you needed to be a medical professional or enmeshed in the medical jargon of ovarian cancer to get the most out of the talk.

Here is what little my non-medically inclined/trained brain understood (I took notes.  I felt like I was in school again.):

There are three main areas of study right now.  Most of them involve treatments for patients with platinum sensitive or platinum resistent cancers. Platinum chemotherapy being a common treatment for ovarian cancer. From what I gathered, platinum sensitive meant that the cancer reoccurred within a year while platinum resistent meant that the cancer reoccurred more quickly within 6 months.

The first area was the Anti-VEGF studies.  VEGF is the vascular endothelial growth factor and if it can be inhibited, it can slow tumor growth.  Several studies in this area, specifically with a drug called Bevacizumab, are showing promise.  A recommendation by one study suggested that the new standard of treatment should be to combine this drug with traditional chemo.

The second area was studies in EGFR or epidermal growth factor receptors.  Similar to the VEGF, if you inhibit these growth factors, you inhibit tumor growth.  This is an important area because one- to two-thirds of all ovarian cancer patients will express (give off) these growth receptors.  Unfortunately, so far these studies are coming up negative even though the same drugs are showing promise in breast, lung and several head and neck cancers.

The last area was studies in PARP inhibitors.  PARP stands for poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase.  For me, this topic was the most complex since it involves breaks in the DNA and the idea that you want to repair the good cells but inhibit repair in cancer cells.  This concept is showing great promise particularly in patients with the BRCA gene mutation.

I did manage to grab a screen shot of the chart below which depicts the length of survival post-treatment spanning over 30 years.

As you can  see the survival time post-treatment has significantly improved over 30 years but clearly there is still more to be accomplished.

I know it’s a little dry – sorry, I feel like this whole week has been pretty dry in A.J.’s absence – but this is just a laywoman’s understanding of a very complicated subject.

A video of the webinar as well as a summary of the meeting’s findings should be available in the next few weeks and I’ll be back to update you when that happens.

– Marcy

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From → education, Events

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